My 15 ½ Favorite Career Unit Interactives
#15: What Are Your Chances of Making It To The Executive Suite?: This is a great tool to help aspiring future CEOs understand what they need to do to live their dream.
There are many possibilities for your life after high school and lots of questions to consider along the way. What path is right for me? What do I stand to gain? What are my funding options for school? This interactive mini-course provides information and tools to help you answer these questions and more!
#13 Paycheck Calculator: This is an excellent way to show students how paychecks are taxed, and even the difference between an effective tax rate and marginal tax rate.
#12 Benefits Cliff Interactive: The Benefits Cliff is the sudden and often unexpected decrease in public benefits that can occur with a small increase in earnings. When income increases, families sometimes lose some or all economic supports. We are currently working on a project with the Atlanta Fed to develop companion resources to accompany a similar tool to this one. When it’s done, it will shoot up to a top stop in my rankings.
#11: Minimum Wage Since 1938: The is particularly relevant for teenage workers, and enlightens students with, in economic terms, “Real” minimum wage over time.
#10: MIT Cost of Living Calculator: Do your students think about in what area of the country they want to work after graduation? Students are blown away when they see the cost of living disparities illustrated using this tool.
#9: Shifting Incomes for American Jobs: We built a handout around the flowing data interactive. It’s a great way to remind students that nobody can be entirely sure what they will be paid over time.
#8: O*NET Online: This is essentially a simplified version of the Occupational Outlook Handbook, and more graphic.
#7: Career Profile Tool: It’s unlikely that Ohio is alone in building out such a comprehensive resources, but this is the best I’ve seen. Within it is the Lifestyle Calculator, which I LOVE! Through image board students can quickly see what kind of lifestyle the career of their choice can provide for them.
½: Replaced by a Robot: This draws from the same Oxford University research as the NPR interactive. There’s not as much data, but it’s easier to use.
#5: Where Work Pays: My explanation will not do justice. You just have to see this eye-popping interactive for yourself. The instructions for using the tool are just below the interactive.
#4: Career One Stop Self Assessment Surveys: There are a lot of these types of surveys, and tend to favor these myself. And this was also a way I could slip in Career One Stop. It’s an amazing resource teachers can tap into for many career activities and specialization pathways such as credentialing.
#3: Occupational Outlook Handbook: This is a must for any career exploration. Be sure to have students filter using anticipated job growth, education, and salary expectations.
#2: A Day in the Life of Americans: This Flowing Data interactive is the perfect hook to illustrate to students the importance of choosing a career path they are passionate about. There’s no better way to see where they will spend their time over their lives. The interactive is included in our interactive handout: How Do You Manage Your Time?
#1: Life Values Quiz: Use this to help students understand what it is they value the most. I’ve been blessed to never feel like I’ve worked a day in my adult life. Whether it is teaching or working with NGPF, what I do is who I am. I firmly believe that the most important career tip we can pass on to our students is to find our passion, understand our values, and marry them with our work.
I understand the importance of pragmatism in making such a decision, and that can still be done. Folks don’t just have one passion, they often choose multiple passions. Frankly, if I was smart enough, I would be a neuroscientist and try to cure Multiple Sclerosis, but that doesn’t make me less passionate about financial literacy, I’m just pragmatic. And if my talent was to work with my hands, I would be passionate about carpentry.
In other words, when I’m old enough to look back at my life I don’t want to regret spending a day working a job I didn’t love so I could spend another day working a job I didn’t love, so I could spend another day working a job I didn’t love, and so on and so on. And I certainly don’t want that for my students either.
- Video Resources: While still teaching, I created a spreadsheet of 90 second videos that provide an overview of careers that don’t require a 4 year degree, aren’t in a declining career field, and in most cases pay more than $30K. I used these as hooks for classes filled with non-college bound students.
- Podcasts For Your Classroom: What's the Relationship Between Money and One's Emotional Well-Being?
- Mini-Unit: Alternatives to 4 Year Colleges
About the Author
Making a difference in the lives of students through financial capability is Brian’s greatest passion. He comes to NGPF after fifteen years of public school teaching where he was the ‘11 Ohio Department of Education recipient of a Milken National Educator Award, the CEE Forbes Award winner, and a Money Magazine/CNN "Money Hero". He served on the working group for President Obama's Advisory Council on Financial Capability. He has private school experience as a Trustee for the Cincinnati Country Day School and was a past Ohio Jump$tart President. Brian holds a BBA and M.Ed. When Brian isn’t working alongside his NGPF teammates he is likely spending time with his wife, three children, and dog; hiking, or watching Ohio State football.
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